Tag:Russell Shepard
Posted on: August 30, 2011 12:40 pm
Edited on: August 30, 2011 12:42 pm
 

LSU G Dworaczyk injures knee, out for 'some time'

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Just when you'd think things couldn't get any worse for LSU, they get worse.

Les Miles announced Monday night that starting senior guard Josh Dworaczyk has reaggravated a lingering knee injury from the 2010 season and will undergo surgery. Though the injury is not believed to be season-ending, Dworaczyk will miss the majority of the 2011 campaign.

"We'll lose him for some time," Miles said.

If there's any silver lining to Dworaczyk's absence, it's that the Tigers have at least one quality replacement and probably two. Miles said that Dworaczyk's spot would be filled by either senior T-Bob Hebert or true freshman La'el Collins--or, more likely, a combination of both. While Hebert is a veteran performer who's started 18 games the prior two seasons at both center and guard, Collins is a five-star recruit who's impressed throughout camp and whose potential Miles has done little to hide his enthusiasm for.

"I think you look at T-Bob, but I think a guy like La’el Collins has the ability," Miles said. "And we don’t want to slow him up. We want to get him to the field quickly."

Nonetheless, there seems little question that going from Dworaczyk to either replacement will be a step down of some degree. The senior's absence from Saturday's opener against Oregon will snap a streak of 23 consecutive starts at left guard, and though snubbed by the official SEC coaches and media preseason all-conference teams, Dworaczyk was named to guru Phil Steele's All-SEC second-team and various other lists of the league's best linemen.

That loss may be made all the worse by the other issues surrounding the Tiger offense. With both Jordan Jefferson and Russell Shepard suspended, LSU may have to rely even more heavily on their run game than expected--a run game a seasoned, talented guard like Dworaczyk would have helped immensely.

With Hebert and Collins around, it's doubtful Dworaczyk's injury will be a make-or-break issue for the Tigers. But the events of the past month means Miles no doubt would like all hands on deck, and now Dworaczyk represents one very polished, very steady set of hands that won't be.

Posted on: August 27, 2011 12:10 pm
 

Les Miles' contract extension is official

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The timing seems a bit off considering what's been going on at LSU in the last week with the arrests of Jordan Jefferson and Josh Johns, along with the suspension of Russell Shepard, but the contract extension Les Miles agreed to back in January was made official by the LSU board on Friday

"We are pleased to finalize and recommend this amendment to the contact for Les Miles and present it to the Board of Supervisors for their approval," said LSU athletic director Joe Alleva before the deal was approved on Friday.  "It is important to maintain long-term stability in a program and the goal at the outset of this process was to establish Coach Miles as the leader of our football program for that long-term stability."

While the new deal will not give Miles a raise in his base pay, it does make sure he's likely going to be in Baton Rouge for a while. Aside from Miles contract being extended from 2014 through 2017, the deal also makes firing Miles without cause an incredibly expensive proposition for LSU. Under his old deal the school would have owed Miles $11.2 million, but now if LSU fires Miles without cause in the first year of the deal, it will cost the school $18.7 million.

Though that number does decrease with each year of the contract completed.

Miles also will receive greater bonuses for conference championships and bowl victories. 
Posted on: August 25, 2011 5:01 pm
Edited on: August 25, 2011 5:03 pm
 

Russell Shepard ineligible, to miss LSU opener

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

What must already be one of the longest weeks of Les Miles' coaching career is getting even longer.

The "compliance issue" which threatened the eligibility of star receiver Russell Shepard will result in his suspension for the opener against Oregon and "a number of games" more, LSU has announced. Thanks to Shepard having spoken with a teammate about that teammate's meeting with NCAA officials prior to the meeting, he has been ruled ineligible.

LSU stated they would apply to have Shepard reinstated and his eligibility restored, but there is no current timetable for a ruling on that application.

A former five-star recruit, Shepard has yet to fulfill his substantial pre-arrival hype in Baton Rouge, but the versatile athlete still finished 2010 LSU's third-leading receiver and fourth-leading rusher. (If there's any silver lining to Thursday's news for the Tigers, it's that the Ducks will be missing the suspended Cliff Harris; as Chris "Heismanpundit" Huston put it on Twitter, "Oregon will not have its best corner available to cover LSU's best suspended receiver.")

Still, if Shepard's suspension is followed up with further trouble for Jordan Jefferson, the Tiger offense -- never the team's strong suit -- will enter the Oregon match-up beyond shorthanded.

The full text of LSU's statement is below:
LSU wide receiver Russell Shepard has been declared ineligible by LSU for violation of an NCAA rule, it was announced Thursday.
LSU will seek reinstatement for Shepard but he is expected to miss a number of games until the reinstatement can be considered by the NCAA. He can continue to practice with the team.
Shepard has been found by the NCAA and LSU to be in violation of Bylaw 32.1.4. Shepard was determined to have discussed an NCAA inquiry with a teammate who was scheduled to meet with an NCAA representative and his actions were deemed to have violated NCAA protocol.
No timeline has been determined for the reinstatement process.


Posted on: August 17, 2011 11:39 am
Edited on: August 17, 2011 11:57 am
 

Miles now says Shepard could face suspension

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The last time we checked in on the Russell Shepard situation at LSU, Les Miles was assuring Tiger fans his star athlete wouldn't miss any time for his off-campus housing-related "compliance issue." "He's fine," Miles said. "He won't have to sit out."

Unfortunately for the Tigers, Miles was singing something of a different tune when speaking to the media Tuesday. Per CBSSports.com RapidReporter Glenn Guilbeau, Miles admitted that the issue could result in Shepard's suspension for the opener against Oregon, saying it was too early to know one way or the other.

"It's premature at this point," he said, adding this typically Miles-ian gem: "When I know more, I'll be forthcoming. Or I won't be forthcoming, and I'll be honestly deceptive."

For his part, Shepard maintained -- as he always has -- that he wasn't sure what would come of the inquiry into his off-campus living arrangement, saying he could miss "the first game or more games, I don’t know."

If the Bayou Bengals were facing Tulane or some other paycheck patsy in their opener, they'd be able to get by without their third-leading receiver and fourth-leading rusher from a year ago. And they may be able to get by the Ducks all the same.

But facing the prospect of keeping up with one of the most loaded offenses in the country, the stop-start LSU attack will likely need all hands on deck--meaning the next couple of weeks will keep everyone in Baton Rouge on the sharpest of pins and needles.


Posted on: August 10, 2011 12:55 pm
 

Les Miles on Shepard: 'He won't have to sit out.'

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Perhaps the hottest topic during LSU's fall camp has been the status of wide receiver Russell Shepard, the Tigers' co-leading returner in receptions, who recently found himself at the center of a "compliance issue" related to his off-campus housing.

Having skipped SEC Media Days due to the incident, Shepard spoke to the media yesterday (including CBSSports.com RapidReporter Glenn Guilbeau) for the first time regarding the issue. "I could be suspended for the first game or more games," he said. "I don't know. It's out of my hands."

But in what must be music to the ears of Tigers fans desperate for one of their most explosive playmakers to take the field against Oregon, Shepard's head coach was much, much more confident regarding Shepard's eligiblity. How confident? This confident:
"There have been communications that would make it appear that it's not very, very serious," Miles said. "He's fine. No, he won't have to sit out." 
So -- as far as Miles is concerned -- there you have it. Shepard's good to go.

But it's difficult to take Miles completely at his word when the player himself still seems unsure. "You never really know," Shepard said when asked if the issue could cost him the season. "I don't think it will ever get that big. But the NCAA's job is to protect athletes as well as universities. They're going to do the best possible thing for college football."

That's exactly the right thing for Shepard to say, considering it's the NCAA who's holding his 2011 campaign in the balance. But you have to forgive Miles and the Tiger faithful for hoping that this once, the organization does the best possible thing for LSU football.

Also in LSU RapidReports: Many LSU fans have wanted to see strong-armed JUCO transfer (and former Georgia quarterback)  Zach Mettenberger take over for incumbent Jordan Jefferson, but to this point Mettenberger hasn't even beaten out Jarrett Lee for the backup's role. But Mettenberger, for his part, is fine with that.

"That's reasonable," he said. "I'm behind two guys who've been here four years. I'm just looking to learn as much as I can from two guys who've really put in some time in the SEC. They're both really good. Both won a lot of games, and now I'm trying to learn as much as I can from them."



Posted on: July 22, 2011 2:32 pm
Edited on: July 22, 2011 3:07 pm
 

Report: LSU's Shepard has 'compliance issue'

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

This much we know about LSU wide receiver/athlete Russell Shepard: after being scheduled to appear at SEC Media Days this week, he has not made the trip to Birmingham. And that according to an official LSU statement, he is not suspended and is missing Media Days due to "personal issues."

That's the line repeated by Les Miles (via CBSSports' own Brett McMurphy):



But according to reports from longtime LSU beat writer Randy Rosetta of TigerSportDigest, it's more complicated than that. Rosetta's initial report:


And a follow-up:


It's that "future eligibility" question that makes this story potentially much more than just Shepard missing out on a visit to the Wynfrey. One of the nation's most sought-after prospects in the 2009 class, Shepard has yet to make the kind of impact expected after his arrival in Baton Rouge, but the former five-star retains a massive amount of potential which new offensive coordinator Steve Kragthorpe is no doubt anxious to tap into.

Even if Shepard's "compliance issue" doesn't force him to miss any more than the season opener against Oregon, even that could be a big blow for a Bayou Bengal team whose roller-coaster offense needs all the weapons it can get. Stay tuned.


Posted on: March 29, 2011 3:45 pm
 

LSU receivers happy to have Kragthorpe on board

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

This just in: LSU has been really, really terrible the last couple of years at throwing the ball.

OK, so that's not exactly a breaking story. But it does help explain the obvious, vivid frustration of the Bayou Bengal receivers when they discuss the departure of former play-caller Gary Crowton ... and, more importantly, their excitement at the arrival of new play-caller Steve Kragthorpe:
"I think we'll be more aggressive than we were last year," wide receiver Rueben Randle said. "I think we'll take more shots. Like in the scrimmage the other day, the first play, we took a shot down field. It kind of got us all excited as a receiving corps to see that" ...

"I think our passing game was like all messed up last year," tight end/wide receiver DeAngelo Peterson said. "I felt a lot of times last year I was beating linebackers, but the ball wasn't there" ...

"I think he (Kragthorpe) is the guy that we need here to get this offense rolling and make big plays down the field," said Randle, the No. 1 receiver in the nation out of Bastrop two years ago who has caught only five touchdowns in his career. "Throughout this spring, I can tell that coach Kragthorpe, he's pretty much a passing guy. I've got a feeling we're going to throw the ball more than we did. He's just a little more aggressive with the deep ball. He doesn't just call the deep shots whenever the defense gives us that. He takes it to them. That was a little different than what we did last year."
It's not unusual to see players extolling the virtues of a new coach, but the not-so-subtle digs at the previous coach aren't necessarily your run-of-the-mill responses. There's also Peterson's "ball wasn't there" complaint, which might interpreted as a dig at incumbent quarterback Jordan Jefferson. Peterson also wasn't shy about hailing the potential of new JUCO transfer (and former Georgia signal-caller) Zach Mettenberger:
Mettenberger has excelled at the deep ball and has a quicker delivery than Jefferson, who tends to wind up.

"He can throw," Peterson said of Mettenberger. "He's got an accurate arm — a strong arm. I think right now, he's just learning the offense. That's what's holding him back, but he's a good quarterback from what I've seen so far."
The overall tone from the LSU receivers makes it clear that Jefferson is still considered the likely starter ... but it's also clear that Mettenberger has their (and no doubt Les Miles's) attention.

You can't blame the LSU receivers at all for their excitement; players like Randle, Peterson, and Russell Shepard were some of the most highly-prized recruits in the country, and couldn't have imagined they'd spend two years playing for one of the most buttoned-down, ineffective, unexciting passing games this side of the triple option. The hire of Kragthorpe was widely panned after his crash-and-burn tenure as Louisville head coach, but compared to Crowton's final two years, things literally could not get any worse from the LSU passing perspective. His arrival and the potential represented by Mettenberger are, without question, good things for the Tiger receiving corps.

But are they good things for LSU? It's not enough for Kragthorpe to simply open up the offense; it's going to have to be opened up efficiently and effectively, and with a reliable quarterback under center, as anyone who remembers Dave Clawson's 40-pass debacles with Jonathan Crompton at Tennessee could tell you. And with Mettenberger lurking, a team-dividing quarterback controversy could rear its ugly head if Kragthorpe can't get Jefferson to finally fulfill his ample potential.

Yes, LSU's receivers should be excited. But LSU fans, on the other hand, might be better served to take the wait-and-see approach.
Posted on: March 11, 2011 9:05 am
Edited on: March 11, 2011 9:08 am
 

Spring Practice Primer: LSU

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

College Football has no offseason. Every coach knows that the preparation for September begins now, in Spring Practice . So we here at the Eye on College Football  will get you ready as teams open spring ball with our Spring Practice Primers . Here's a look at LSU, who begins spring practice today.

Spring Practice Question: Can anyone be the quarterback LSU needs to win a championship?

As soon as the dust settled on LSU's comprehensive demolition of Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl, the stakes for 2011 were set for Les Miles and Co.: it's some form of championship or bust.

The Bayou Bengals have been playing second fiddle and even third fiddle for three straight seasons, not only missing out on those three SEC West titles but missing by a combined ten games. Not only has LSU not gone to Atlanta since their magical run of 2007, they haven't even come close, as their divisional rivals at Alabama and Auburn have barreled their way to national titles. There's a reason (other than his clock management) Miles has somehow ended up in the annual "hot seat" chatter even as he's won 78 percent of his games at LSU.

There's a lot of reasons to think that changes this year. Defensive coordinator John Chavis has taken the Tigers to finishes of 26th and 12th in the nation in total defense his two seasons in Baton Rouge; even without Patrick Peterson, Drake Nevis and the like, fearsome young defenders like end Sam Montgomery and defensive back Tyrann Mathieu should have his unit among the nation's best again. Jumbo senior guards Will Blackwell and Josh Dworaczyk should pave the way for a powerful running game, particularly if rising sophomore running back Spencer Ware can prove his explosive Cotton Bowl performance (102 yards on 10 carries) wasn't a fluke. With former five-star recruits Rueben Randle and Russell Shepard coming into their own as juniors, receiving talent is no problem.

So there's just one question: what's going to happen at quarterback?

OK, two questions, the first being who is going to be the quarterback; expect the overwhelming majority of headlines coming out of the Tigers' spring camp to breathlessly detail the three-way battle between incumbent Jordan Jefferson, his longtime competitor Jarrett Lee, and JUCO-by-way-Georgia- dismissal transfer Zach Mettenberger. It's Mettenberger who represents maybe the most intriguing option , coming in with NFL-quality size (6'5", 247 pounds), a 32-to-4 touchdown-to-interception ratio at Butler County (Kan.) Community College, and the endorsement that comes with having battled Aaron Murray tooth-and-nail for the Bulldogs' backup quarterback job in 2009. Given the way Lee flailed his way through his 16-interception 2008 season and the roller coaster ride Jefferson's career has followed the past two seasons, you'll forgive LSU fans for hoping Mettenberger wins the job.

More SEC

But what's more important than who emerges from the scrum is how that player -- or players -- performs. If spring practice shows that the Tigers have three quality options available at quarterback -- and given all three's combination of experience and talent, and the fresh start offered by the arrival of Steve Kragthorpe as offensive coordinator, that's a distinct possibility -- then the team will be poised to potentially make good on what may be preseason SEC title projections. Jefferson, Mettenberger, or Lee, what's critical for LSU is that someone comes out of spring practice having cemented himself as an above-average SEC quarterback.

Of course, the possibility also exists that all three will show themselves to be lacking. Jefferson also had an outstanding Cotton Bowl but over the course of his two seasons has been entirely less than reliable; Lee has been Jefferson's backup for those two seasons; and for all his salivating potential, Mettenberger has yet to take a snap at the SEC level. If that's the case, well, we've seen already these past three seasons what happens when LSU has everything but a quarterback.

And it's a lot closer to bust than championship.



 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com